After check in we still had almost an hour to wait, but that's not an unpleasant experience at the Koh Samui Airport. It's an open air building in a very pretty setting, with lots of pretty flowers and outside seating.
The nice seating area at the gate:
A temple on a distant hill:
Soon it was time to board, and we hopped on the trolley for a quick ride out to our plane. It was a pleasant 1 hour pleasant flight to Bangkok, and we were even served breakfast. I will say that a smoked fish sandwich isn't my favorite breakfast item, but the dragon fruit and papaya were delicious.
We enjoyed visiting with a nice gentleman from Sweden, comparing our experiences in Thailand.
Soon we landed in Bangkok, went straight to baggage claim, and waited (and waited, and waited.....) for our two checked bags. At least it's a nice view:
Finally our bags appeared, and we headed for the official taxi stand. We quickly got our ticket, and a driver came to claim us. A short walk to his car, he loads our bags, and we settle ourselves in the back seat.
Hmmmm--this car looks kind of old, we think. He starts the car, backs out and s-l-o-w-l-y drives out of the airport, lurching along in fits and starts, his old car sounding like it's gasping it's last breaths. After much sputtering and lurching, David asks the driver: "Car O.K?" No response. David tries again: "Bad Gas?" Our driver kept adjusting his rear view mirror to look at us, and must have realized we were just a bit worried. Finally he replies: "We go"---and OFF we went! After an hour and 15 minutes of lurching, belching, popping and sputtering, we pulled up to our hotel. We are VERY please to be here, and not stranded along the toll-way. In fact, I'm so grateful I even give him a tip--he needs some extra baht to tune up his car!
We are warmly welcomed back by the Adelphi staff, everyone from the doorman to the front desk. They certainly have been well trained, and we've been very happy with our stay here.
This time we are on the 14th flooor, with a nice view of our Sky Train station, Nana:
It's much the same set up as our last suite, complete with a small kitchen and a washer/dryer. And don't forget that wonderful "rain" shower!
A quick un-pack, and we hit the streets, stopping at a small cafe for a fast lunch. Our plan for the afternoon: Sanu Luong Market--a very large open air market in the middle of bustling downtown area. We take the Sky Train and the subway, and come out onto the street closest to the market. We get out our trusty map, and make our way to the entrance. We're not seeing much activity....
After a peek through the tall metal fence we figure out there has not been a market here for a long time. We consult one of our small travel guides, and see a footnote: This market may be closing in the near future. Well, rats!
We decide to just walk around this area, and do our usual "exploring" off the beaten path. We take a side street off the main street, and wander around an old neighborhood. It's a very run down, poor area, obviously not "tourist central". We do get a few curious looks, but many more friendly smiles. There are lots of food vendors, we see one selling those yummy coconut desserts, so of course we get an order:
After walking through a maze of narrow alleys, we decide we need a cold drink and to rest our feet. We find a local "restaurant", certainly not a place we'd be comfortable eating, but they have cold beer!
We order two Sing Ha's, and relax for a few minutes. We consult our map, and see that Lumpini Park is right across the street from the subway stop. We decide a nice walk in the park is just what we need.
Lumpini Park is a 140 acre oasis of calm, set right in the middle of Bangkok's big high rise business district. It was created in 1920 by King Rama IV, and has many miles of walking paths, a workout circuit, and even Bangkok's largest public library.
There's a man made lake, complete with swan boats:
A pretty Chinese Pavilion overlooking the lake:
A small canal winds through the park, and we stop on a bridge to watch a man feeding the fish. He asks us if we've seen the lizards. We say no, and he points out one sunning on the banks of the canal. Wow--it's huge! I was thinking "little lizards", not these monsters!
By now it was late afternoon, and our plan for the evening was to visit the big Pat Pong night market.
We pulled out our trusty map, and plotted our route. Of course we got turned around in the maze of streets, but after several kind offers of help, we finally find the right area. There were a couple of stores that I wanted to check out, one of them the Jim Thompson Silk Shop. We found it, and I briefly looked around; very lovely silk items, at very lovely, big prices! Didn't buy a thing, but it was fun to look. I also browsed a couple of antique stores on the same street, again some beautiful and interesting items, but too big for my suitcase!
By now our feet needed a rest, and it was waaaay past time for a cold drink! We found a small bar with outside seating, and relaxed with a couple of tall cold ones.
We'd planned on eating street food for dinner, but didn't find many food vendors in this area, so instead we found a small noodle shop and each had a noodle dish. It wasn't an exciting dinner experience, but we were satisfied.
We made our way back to the main market area, shopping along the way. I did buy a pair of comfy elephant-print pants for around the house wear. There were many stalls of counterfeit goods, especially purses. I wasn't even tempted by those genuine Louis Vuittons, Pradas and Birkin bags. Looked more like plastic to me!
The Pat Pong Night Market wasn't what we'd expected. It branched off the main street down a couple of alleys that were filled with sleazy sex bars. Not exactly the Night Market experience we were looking for, we did a quick cruise-thru, and got out of there! I know it's part of experiencing Bangkok, but I just found it sad and depressing. Wish I could wash my eyeballs clean--yuck!
Time to call it a night, so we hop on the sky train and zip back to our hotel. It had been a very interesting evening!